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A Cracker Christmas!

December 05, 2017 at 9:35 AM

The joy of the festive season was ushered in with an evening of song and worship at the Boys’ School Carol Service last night. At a time of year when there seems to be so much ‘busyness’ and, for some, a sense that maybe there’s still so much to achieve ‘before Christmas,’ it’s always a joy to stop for an evening, to sit quietly in the grandeur of the Holy Trinity Cathedral and enjoy time with our boys and their families, as we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. 

This annual service is always a delightful time of music; whether it’s the congregation singing time-honoured carols, listening to our youngsters raise their voices in song or listening to our talented orchestra, music fills the air. This year, there was a new musical addition, as our fledgling Boys’ School Pipes and Drums opened the service, backing Zavier Edmonds as he beat out a rhythm on the snare drum to introduce ‘The Little Drummer Boy.’ As early summer sun streamed through the stained glass windows, Year 8 student, Oscar van Druten took the solo, singing the first verse before the congregation joined in, setting a wonderful tone for the evening. 

The Junior School loves to sing! ‘Christmas has started,’ was their selection, some of the boys a little wide-eyed as they turned to face a congregation well in excess of 2000! By contrast, our Performers’ Choir is well used to an audience, making a superb job of an upbeat, ‘Christmas Calypso’ and the heart-warming ‘Saint Kentigern Blessing.’ For the first time at a Carol Service, the Middle School boys also came forward to sing as one, filling the nave as they sang a moving, ‘Mary, did you know.’ 

No pressure staff, but these were big shoes to follow!  The staff came together to sing the beautiful New Zealand carol, ‘Te Haranui.’ It’s fair to say they ‘nailed it!’ 

Every year, Reverend Reuben Hardie’s Christmas message is keenly awaited. From boys erecting tents in the nave and playing cricket, to downing strawberries and pavlova, there’s always some fun and just when you think you’ve seen it all, he has another idea up his sleeve  - this year it was a Christmas cracker. Of course, not any cracker. Not the little cracker with a hat, lame joke and plastic trinket that waits to be pulled over Christmas dinner. This was a ginormous, shiny cracker with a hint of a deeper message waiting within. Reverend Hardie asked, ‘How do you have a Cracker Christmas in the best sense of the word?’ 

 He explained that there are always three things in every cracker – a joke, a hat and a gift. He said the joke was to inject some laughter and joy for when the angels appeared to the shepherds the night Christ was born, they said ‘We bring you good news of great joy.’ 

The second item, the hat, is always in the shape of a crown. The crown reminds us that Jesus was born a King. The three wise men recognised how special the baby would be, for Jesus would learn to love unconditionally. So maybe the crown in the cracker is there to challenge us to find extra love for everyone at Christmas. 

And finally the gift. For Mary and Joseph, it wasn’t something wrapped in beautiful paper or tinsel – it was a baby boy. Jesus was God’s gift to the world. We too can be the gift to people around us at Christmastime and he encouraged the boys to think about ways they could be a gift to others.

 

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